With the imminent launch of Apple’s HomePod, the range of smart speakers is steadily expanding. So just how do you choose which smart speaker is best for you?
The crowns currently belong to Amazon Echo and Google Home, but Apple are looking to shake things up with the introduction of their HomePod in February. With 3 different brands launching with 3 different virtual assistants, it’s a tricky choice for those unaccustomed to the smart speaker realm.
We’ve broken down just a few features to help with your decision:
Amazon Echo / Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon wins the title for the largest and longest running smart speaker range. With over 10,000 different skills, Amazon’s Alexa can assist with setting alarms and timers, playing music, updating you with the news, booking appointments in your calendar and much more. Launched in 2014, Amazon has had more time to develop, expand and perfect their Echo speaker, currently compatible with the widest range of apps and services, including the ability to shop via Amazon.com. Alongside apps such as Spotify and Netflix, Amazon Echo can also stream Amazon Music Unlimited to make sure you hear your favourite tunes without touching a button. It’s also compatible with Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Prime to control how you watch your favourite shows on your TV.
Amazon Echo is currently available in more countries than the Apple HomePod or Google Home (probably due to its early release) and is by far the best choice for fans of Amazon.com, Amazon Prime and for those looking for a wider range of compatible apps and services.
Models: Amazon Echo Dot / Amazon Echo / Amazon Echo Plus / Amazon Echo Spot / Amazon Echo Show
Prices: $79 - $229 (AUD) / £49.99 - £199.99 (GBP)
Google Home / Google Home Mini
Google Home is certainly one of the most stylish and best sounding of the top smart speaker range, however is more limited in its capabilities when compared to the likes of Amazon’s Echo. Despite this, Google is still able to assist you with making calls, creating calendar appointments, setting timers for cooking, reading articles, playing music and much more. It is also compatible with a wide range of apps and services such as Netflix, Chromecast and Spotify, to stream your favourite movies and music without moving an inch.
Although Google Home is more limited than Amazon Echo, it’s quickly catching up and expanding the capabilities of its Google Assistant to a wider range of apps and services. A great choice for those seeking a more stylish, great sounding speaker.
Models: Google Home / Google Home Mini
Prices: $79 - $199 (AUD) / £49 - £129 (GBP)
Apple HomePod is ready for launch this February and the rumours are a bit hit and miss. Apple enthusiasts think this will be the next great move for the company, whilst others believe Apple may have already missed its opportunity to break into the smart speaker market. Apple’s website promotes the HomePod’s primary function as a speaker, boasting its deep bass and impressive sound. The difference is, the HomePod will have the ability to learn your music tastes, adapt the sound to its surroundings and hear your requests even when your music is already blaring. The HomePod will also use Apple’s smart assistant Siri to help you effortlessly play your favourite songs, set reminders and tasks, answer phone calls and connect to your smart home accessories. Apple haven’t confirmed exactly which apps and services it will be compatible with, however chances are it will only be compatible with just one music streaming service, Apple Music, and will need time to catch up with the competition. The Apple HomePod will also be much more expensive than its competitors, leaving some to question ‘is it really worth it’? We’ll know more when it launches next month!
Pricing: Around $499 (AUD) / £280 (GBP)
So, whether you’re a brand advocate, looking for a cheap beginner’s model, want a great sounding speaker, or want to connect all your smart home devices together, the choice is really up to you!